Best Blogs of the Week
I read a lot of travel blogs every week. Every day, even. Since I’m constantly coming across good reads, I’ve decided to highlight some of the best and most interesting posts, photos, videos and general blogging gems from all over the web that I’ve discovered in the past week.
Though I try to read a diverse sampling of things, there’s no way that I can possibly get to it all. So, if you have an interesting post that you’d like me to check out and consider for next week, please let me know in the comments! Who knows? Maybe I’ll fall in love with it. At the very least, I’ll leave you my two cents in a comment.
What I'm Reading
Stephanie sounds a lot like me when it comes to the topic of haggling in a foreign country — we're both a bit uncomfortable with it. We don't like confrontation, and we definitely don't like the pressure that goes along with trying to niggle the price of some stupid souvenir down a few dollars. So in this post, Stephanie offers some tips for how to make the whole bargaining process as painless as possible for people like us. I've definitely used some of these methods myself in places like China!
The NVR guys have been camping and hiking their way across America's national parks, and were recently in Glacier National Park on a perfectly sunny day. But what started out as a day memorable for its stunning views, ended in a much different memorable way. Kent and Caanan came upon a stretch of trail that was still snow-covered — and then upon a tragic accident in which a hiker had just slipped and fell down a treacherous slope. He did not survive. Clearly shaken by this experience, the guys implore their readers to embrace life. Because life is short. And you just never know what could happen tomorrow.
I always enjoying reading about the adventures of Theodora and her son Z, who are currently traveling the world together indefinitely. Recently, they've been in Indonesia. This humorous post describes their attempt to climb to the top of a mountain where the main attraction is a very stinky lake (hence the “Lake of Farts” nickname). The problem is that, after a mostly-sleepless night, Theodora and Z aren't actually able to make it to the lake. Z doesn't react well to all the sulphur in the air, and they have to turn back. Mission unaccomplished. But the story is well worth a read.
I've done posts like this myself on places like Hawaii and New Zealand — and I love Marie's fun facts about France. Posts like this are always interesting to me, because I usually end up learning something new. For example, I didn't know that the French rarely have sales on clothing, or that (like in NZ), tipping is not expected at restaurants there. Take a peek at this post, and see if there's anything in it about France that YOU didn't know.
Matt put together this list of all the travel-related words and phrases that perhaps didn't exist a decade ago. Words like “Couchsurfing” and “flashpacker,” and phrases like “digital nomad” and “baggage fees.” It's interesting to think about how far travel has come in just 10 years — and most of these words really reflect that.
If you've ever visited Bethany and Randy's site before, you've probably seen some of their amazing photographs from all around the world. If you haven't, this is a perfect post to check out. If the images included here of Iceland don't make you want to go book a ticket and leave tomorrow, something may be seriously wrong with you.
What in the World?
On Friday, a nutjob from Norway (doesn't that have a nice ring?) bombed a government building in Oslo, and then went on a shooting rampage on an island that was playing host to a youth camp. In all, the lone terrorist killed more than 75 people — most of them youths. The man claimed his shooting spree was a marketing ploy to bring attention to a 1,500-page manifesto he published online the same day. In it, he espouses nationalist beliefs, describes how he plotted his attack, and encourages others to rise up against what he calls the Muslim overtaking of society.
The island nation of Malta is finally going to catch up with the rest of the EU this fall, as it becomes the last member nation to allow divorces. That's right — ending a marriage was, up until now, illegal in Malta.
In Britain over the weekend, singer Amy Winehouse was found dead in her London apartment. She was 27, just like other troubled young music stars Kurt Cobain, Janice Joplin, Jim Morrison and Jimi Hendrx were when they died. A cause of death has not yet been released, but with Winehouse's constant struggles with drug and alcohol abuse, I don't think it's too difficult to figure out what killed her.
In slightly lighter London news, the 2012 Olympics will open 1 year from tomorrow!
Gay couples rejoiced on Sunday as New York state's gay marriage law went into effect. As early as midnight, hundreds of same-sex couples began tying the knot all across the state. However, the state's over-exuberance about the measure could lead to problems in the future. Usually, there's a 24-hour waiting period in between obtaining a marriage license and being able to be legally married in New York. But the state waived that requirement on Sunday so that gay couples could tie the knot on the first day gay marriage was legal in New York. I have a sneaking suspicion that some unhappy politician or other will find fault with this, and find some way to render all those marriages invalid…
Congress is still fighting over America's debt ceiling and budget, and they're getting dangerously close to an August 2 deadline. If they can't play nice and come to an agreement before then, the U.S. will begin to default on its loans. Ah, democracy.
An 80-year-old man in South Africa had an interesting weekend. After being proclaimed dead by his family and stored in a morgue refigerator for 21 hours, the man woke up. Finding himself in a morgue fridge, he began banging on the door, scaring the undertaker nearly to death. Employees at the morgue thought it was a ghost, and called the police before going in to investigate. The old man's response after being removed from the fridge? “How did I get in here??” The man was taken to a hospital and deemed healthy by doctors there. His family had thought him dead after a bad asthma attack.
As always, if you have a post or news item you’d like me to consider featuring next time, leave your link in the comments below!